Freesnarko pt. 287564: The Life Coaches
Like we always do about this time:
With the playoffs ever so near, Bethlehem Shoals, Brown Recluse Esq., and yours truly have taken it upon ourselves to soundtrack each series for you, providing an appropriate backdrop tailor-suited to the intricacies of each 15-on-15 best of seven matchup. Hours upon hours of archival research were performed in order to select the ideal accompaniments for each showdown. We hope you find these appropriate, and feel free to give your suggestions below.
Pistons/Bucks: The Band w/ Allen Toussaint - King Harvest (live)
Solid, ethical, perhaps a touch of austerity, but never without that snap of vitality. That's the impossible-to-sink, impossible-to-love, impossible-to-vanquish life force of these two teams, as they bring just a touch of swagger to the faceless grind, and tight-lipped desperation, of the Rust Belt. No Toussaint would be like this series without Sheed or Mo Williams.
Heat/Bulls: Prodigy – Keep it Thoro
The beat is Miami, looming larger than life, capable of swallowing whole its counterpart. Perhaps too well-crafted and too clean. Mundane for brief periods with spontaneous awe-inducement. The counterpart, obviously, is Prodigy: The Bulls. No-nonsense and capable of an unparalleled stupidity, used to his/its advantage. Durable, not very well-tested, but capable. Knowing.
Nets/Pacers: Neil Young - F*!#in' Up
Both the Nets' late season surge and the Pacers' solid .500 season amidst turmoil were about as expected as the grizzled Canadian rocker releasing a totally vital album in 1990, on the eve of grunge. The riffs evoke Indiana's hard-nosed approach, while the whiny voice is all Vince. This song and this series are about redemption. Maybe Vince will trade in the headband for a bandana for just one game.
Cavs/Wizards: John Coltrane w/ Eric Dolphy - Chasin' the Trane (live)
You heard it at FreeDarko first: BASKETBALL IS NOT JAZZ. But if you think for a second that this isn't going to stir in me feelings left untended since I first heard this (age 14, for the record), I hate you, reader. Pure, destructive, explosive ecstatsy, with a definite eye toward ultimate spiritual fulfillment. For Gilbert and LeBron, too. Sidenote: VAREJAO IS ELVIN JONES.
Suns/Lakers: Giorgio Moroder - Lost Angeles
When not torching Italian League nets in the '70s and '80s (and also serving as a young Kobe's hoops idol), Mike D'Antoni was getting live in the clubs to shit like this. Moroder's future sound is the perfect match for the uptempo Suns offense, and there's enough quirkiness for a series that involves a Marx-reading Canadian, a Zen-practicing hippie coach, TWO Frenchmen, an Italian-reared American superstar, and a guy named Smush. And if "Lost Angeles" doesn't sum up Kobe's career to this point, I don't know what does.
Mavs/Grizzlies: Dan Penn - Nobody's Fool
Country meets country, as two hard-headed, nonsenseless squads collide in a battle trimmed with respect. Sustaining the respect of others, respect for thy neighbor, and most of all, too much self-respect to ever whine about it. And at the center of it all, Dirk vs. Pao, an Aryan/Mediterrainian showdown that, like Angie Harmon versus Kathy Bates, should teach us some hard truths about who most closely clutchs EuroBall's roots between his thumbs.
Spurs/Kings: Serge Gainsbourg – En Melody
The musical manifestation of the French (Tony Parker) confronting the hardness of it all (Mike Bibby). The chaos you hear in the background is a certain R. Artest, ready to open the MIND of Shareef Abdur Rahim and take him on a magical tour through playoff intrigue and desire. The pace of this series will be quick, its peaks notable, its end, ultimately uncertain.
Clippers/Nuggets: Nirvana – Serve the Servants
Less climactic than we all want (and hope it to be) but nonetheless a classic in its own right. A depressing rejoice, both a lamentation of prior futility and future promise (but to where?). Ghosts linger. A grand opening to an event of both pain and laughing at pain, while denying pain ever existed. Cassell has a touch of Albini to him, righting the ship, finessing the early work of championship-caliber teams, and turning already established stallions into contenders.